The weather literally gave us a warm welcome with 35 degrees heat outside upon arriving in Siem Reap International Ariport – the least busiest airport I’ve been to which is great as I did not need to spend hours on the immigration counter because of long queues. And since I’m holding a Philippine passport I did not need to apply for a visa which saves me $30. Not bad! Though I had a strange experience at their immigration counter, not sure if it’s normal to an officer to ask for tips? For me it’s bribery so I refused. It took us a very short time to get out of the airport. At the exit you will find stalls who sell prepaid simcard for $5 that comes with mobile data and surprisingly, the mobile data connection was really fast!
Our hotel was 15 minutes away from the city. Fresh fruit juice and banana chips welcomed us at the lobby. One thing that is exceptional in Cambodia is its kind people. They are overly hospitable and entertaining. Our tour guide had never forgotten to give us cold water (to keep us hydrated), umbrella (to make sure we are comfortable while walking under the sun) and book with maps (to save our money in hiring another guide) during our tours. Would you believe that he did not even ask for tips! Such a nice man. I strongly refer him if you plan to visit Siem Reap.
Here’s our pic together! :) Contact: Wood (012959290)
Where to stay?
Siem Reap is a small city so no need to worry about the distances, you can roam the city in minutes. The city also offers plenty of nice hotels at a very affordable price. I chose to book our hotel in the city centre since we only had 2 days to explore Siem Reap, so still the nearer to city and attractions the better for us. Our hotel name was Landing Gold Villa Hotel, it gave us the tropical feels – with the ceiling fans, banig, wooden furniture and tropical trees around. What I liked also about this hotel was that the food at their resto is incredibly cheap as low as $2 per meal! Overnight stay cost us $44.
What to see?
1. Cultural Village
Right after lunch we headed for the city tour which we arranged directly with the hotel. They normally give you options, depending on what you want to see and do in the city. For our first day, we went for a tour at the Cultural Village – huge village showcasing their origins and cultures with a series of acts and dance numbers, but we did not finish it all as we got bored eventually. After cultural village, we went on the local market to re-boost up our energies. Shopping in Cambodia is cheaper than it is in Bangkok and most stores accept Thai Baht and US dollar.
- Day tour $15-20/day (Tuktuk + driver/tour guide)
- Cultural Village $10
- Food is ranging to $1 – $10
2. Angkor Tour
We did the temple visit on our second and last day in Siem Reap. It’s advisable to do this early as possible to avoid crowd. And of course you wouldn’t want to visit all temples as there are many of them, you can visit just the major Angkors but first you will need to buy your temple pass at the tourism authority for $20 (good for all temples).
- Angkor Wat
- Angkor Thom
All temples will require you to walk and the weather is exhausting, so make sure you are on your most comfortable shoes and pack light!